COMMENTARY | COLUMNISTS | GEORGE CHAMBERLIN

George Chamberlin's Money in the Morning

A headline at MarketWatch.com -- owned by the Wall Street Journal -- blared the message, "September 30 historically year's worst day for stock market investors." Well, we have a long way to go but this September 30 is off to a pretty darned good start, up more than 200 points. To be sure, this month and the entire third quarter of 2015 have been terrible. We are officially in correction mode, with the major indexes down slightly more than 10 percent. Remember, a correction is a long way from a bear market.

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Another blurb this morning from MarketWatch.com attempts to put a negative spin on the early gains. It says, "DJIA up 200 points but would need 1,600 to turn third quarter positive." Tell us something we don't already know. I've never seen a report saying, "Dow down 300 points but would need to lose another 2,000 points to turn the quarter negative."

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The question that will be answered soon is, quite simply, will we see a return of investor confidence and upward price momentum return now that we have ripped September off the calendar? It is foolish to think just starting a new month is enough to stop the stock market bleeding, but lesser things have turned things around.

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The flow of employment reports began earlier today with the ADP survey of private sector jobs for September. The report showed payrolls up by 200,000, the best number in four months, with large companies accounting for more than half of the activity. Usually it is the small and medium-sized companies that create the vast majority of jobs. "The largest companies appear to be starting to overcome the impacts of weak global demand and the higher dollar, while the smallest companies may have pulled back as concerns about the resiliency of the U.S. economy grew and consumer confidence softened," said ADP's Ahu Yildirmaz. Of course, the Conference Board said just the opposite yesterday when it showed its consumer confidence index rose to the highest level since 2007 mostly because, you got it, people are more confident about the employment situation.

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The Labor Department will release the official jobs report for September before the start of trading on Friday.

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No big surprise to see Bill Gates still at the top of the Forbes list of the 400 wealthiest Americans. His net worth is an estimated $76 billion, actually down slightly from last year. Following Gates is his bridge-playing buddy, Warren Buffett worth $62 billion. Interestingly, the usual San Diego billionaire, Irwin Jacobs, didn't make the list this year. Yes, he is still a billionaire but not enough to make the cut at $1.7 billion. Add up all their wealth and the 400 billionaires on the list are worth $2.34 trillion.

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